Who we are

Philip Spinney is the HM Senior Coroner for Exeter and Greater Devon

Photo of Philip Spinney sat at a table with paperwork and penPhilip is an experienced solicitor and advocate with a background in public, administrative and criminal law. His legal career started as a solicitor in private practice in Dorset before being commissioned into the legal branch of the Royal Air Force in 1996.

He initially served with the Royal Air Force Prosecuting Authority and later undertook a variety of legal roles which included advising the senior leadership of the Royal Air Force and Ministers on aspects of constitutional, international and military law.

He was the first legal adviser to the newly formed Military Aviation Authority where he was the appointed adviser to all fatal accident inquiries.

Philip also served overseas with NATO and the United Nations and served on operations in Bosnia, Abkhazia, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Philip completed the Joint Service Advanced Staff and Command course and as a senior officer sat on the Legal Branch Management Board.

Whilst serving with The Royal Air Force Philip was appointed as an Assistant Coroner in the Plymouth, Torbay and South Devon Jurisdiction.

Philip achieved the rank of Air Commodore and on leaving the Royal Air Force Philip was appointed as an Assistant Land Registrar to HM Land Registry in Plymouth and also continued to sit regularly as an Assistant Coroner in Devon.

In 2016 Philip was appointed as the Area Coroner to the newly formed South Wales Central Coroner Area where he had the day to day responsibility for the Cardiff Coroner’s Court and office.

In 2018 Philip was appointed as the Senior Coroner in the Exeter and Greater Devon Coroner area.

Philip lives in Devon with his wife, Gill and their two children. He is a keen sailor and enjoys spending time on Dartmoor running and walking with his family and dogs.

The assistant coroners

Luisa Nicholson

Luisa studied law in Birmingham before joining West Midlands Police Force.

She decided to become a solicitor and left the police service in order to complete her legal training in Exeter and qualified with a firm in Barnstaple in 2003.

She moved to south Devon after qualification and in 2012 set up her own practice specialising in private client matters (wills, probate, estate administration) and older clients’ issues.

Luisa was appointed HM Assistant Coroner for Exeter and Greater Devon in 2013. She has a particular interest in emergency planning and disaster victim identification.

Nick Brown

Nick Brown

Nick is a practising barrister who specialises in inquests, human rights, clinical negligence, legal negligence, and personal injury work.

Since joining Doughty Street Chambers in London in 2003, much of Nick’s work has involved representing bereaved families at inquests arising out of deaths in custody and deaths involving police action as well as clinical negligence deaths and deaths following industrial accidents. From time to time, Nick also acts for other interested persons.

Between 2014 and 2016, Nick was part of the legal team representing 77 of the 96 Families at the new Hillsborough Inquests. Nick also represented the family of Fusilier Gordon Gentle at the inquest into his death in Iraq and the family of Ronald Maddison, the serviceman who died during a non-therapeutic human experiment involving the use of sarin nerve gas in 1953, at the Porton Down inquest in 2004.

Nick has been coming down to the west country since he was five years old and his parents now live in West Dorset close to the border with Devon. Nick is married and has two grown-up children.

He has been a junior rugby coach for many years.

More information about Alison Longhorn and Deborah Archer will be available soon.